Filing for divorce is a form of self-care

Tracey Folly

What I wish I knew about getting divorced.

Divorce shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s certainly not a four-letter word, but do you know what is a four-letter word? Love. Let that sink in.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with love. Love is a wonderful thing while it lasts, and maybe if you’re lucky, it lasts forever. For those who aren’t so lucky, however, divorce may be a valid option.

I know it was for me.

It isn’t that I was stuck in a loveless marriage, although I was. And it isn’t that I was stuck in a sexless marriage, although I was. The problem was that I was stuck in an abusive marriage from the ages of nineteen through twenty-four, and I deserved a second chance.

Divorce afforded me that option, but I had to choose it first.

You see. As a young newlywed who was regularly being used as a punching bag by a husband who had mental health and addiction issues, I was also dealing with my own shame. I was ashamed that I had married a man who would treat me that way, and I was even more ashamed to admit I couldn’t get him to stop.

It wasn’t until I had suffered for more than four years that I was finally able to admit that my marriage had failed. I felt like a failure, and I admitted as much to the husband of a dear friend.

“Why did it take you so long to leave him?” he asked.

“I didn’t want to admit that I had failed,” I replied.

“You didn’t fail,” he said. “He did.”

I have never felt so validated. My friend's husband’s words did so much to help me heal, and I never even got the chance to thank him. He and my friend would also end up separated and then divorced, albeit for very different reasons. I wish them both the best in their new lives.

When I admitted to my mother that I felt embarrassed to be the first person in the family to divorce, she scoffed.

“Your father is divorced, too,” she pointed out.

Oh yeah. That’s right.

What I wish I knew about getting divorced is that there are people out there who want to help you through the process. There are people out there who have been through a divorce — even worse, some who’ve been through multiple divorces — and are ready to share their stories so that you don’t have to go through it all alone.

How do you get divorced? It’s not as simple as just saying “I do” and then walking away. Getting a divorce will not be easy. It will not be fun. It will not be enjoyable for anyone involved. But you know what? At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for ourselves and our families. And when it comes down to it, whether you’re a divorcee or not, you must realize that you are your own best advocate. You control what your future holds.

Getting divorced is something that can be hard to handle if you’re not sure what to do with it. The fact is, divorce can be as frightening or frighteningly different as any other change in your life. It involves shedding years of your past and building a new life somewhere different from where you are now.

Divorce involves giving up on things you care about deeply. And most importantly, it involves accepting the fact that anyone who loves you will eventually walk away from you if that’s what’s best for them. Divorces are often scary especially if you’re not prepared.

The whole process of getting divorced can feel like it’s going to come full circle, with no guarantees or guarantees that things will end well. However, if you’re considering getting divorced in the first place, things probably aren’t going well in the first place.

When you’re ready to call it quits, the first thing you need to do is get your ducks in a row. Realize that this decision will be about more than money. It will be about the future of your kids, your relationship with your family, your spiritual well-being, and so much more. Getting divorced is a major life decision and one that should be made with full knowledge and awareness of the possible consequences.

Getting divorced is not always easy. It can be scary, stressful, and heartbreaking. But if you’re smart about it, you can get through it just like the rest of us. If you’re living with someone and have grown tired of being tired, then divorce may be just what the doctor ordered.

And if you’re living through a miserable marriage like I did, filing for divorce can be a form of self-care. There’s no shame in getting divorced, and there’s no reward in remaining in a marriage that has outlived its purpose for whatever reason. It’s not an exaggeration to say that getting divorced may even save your life, depending upon your circumstances.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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